New COVID-19 grant program will launch for small businesses in Palatine

The village of Palatine will offer grants of up to $10,000 each in federal money for eligible small, locally owned businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assistant Village Administrator Mike Jacobs said the new small business grant program is expected to launch Feb. 1. Initially, there will be about $80,000 available, but village officials hope that will increase to $214,000. The money comes from special community development block grant funding under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The Palatine grant program will be administered by the nonprofit Center of Concern, based in Des Plaines. It will offer 100% reimbursement for expenses directly related to COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment and workspace modifications like booth dividers.

Any money left over would go to 50% reimbursement for operating expenses like utilities and rent/mortgage payments, but not payroll.

The village council approved an agreement with Center of Concern on Monday.

Applications will be evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis, Village Manager Reid Ottesen said. Eligible businesses must be locally owned; have 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees; be for profit; occupy a bricks-and-mortar location; and have suffered a 20% revenue loss from April to November, as compared to the same period in 2019.

Locally owned franchisees would need to show they haven't received corporate assistance, such as temporary rent waivers, Ottesen said.

The village plans to post information about the grant program by Friday on its website, "We want to give people time to get their paperwork together," Jacobs said.

Online applications are expected to go live Feb. 1 and will be available on the Center of Concern's website, The village's website will be updated to direct people there.

The Center of Concern also provides small business assistance to the city of Des Plaines, said Executive Director John McNabola.

"We're very excited to expand our ability to help Palatine residents as they are coping with challenges related to the pandemic," he said.

There are an estimated 2,500 businesses in Palatine, the vast majority of them small businesses, said Steven Gaus, executive director of the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has about 270 members and has worked to be a resource during the pandemic, including with "shop local" campaigns.

"(Businesses) can use all the help they can get," Gaus said.

Altogether, the village expects to receive a total $717,041 in special community development block grant funds for COVID-19 related needs. That includes $10,000 for administration; $493,041 for public assistance such as housing for homeless residents and meals for seniors; and $214,000 for economic development through the small business grant program.

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